Recruitment is the worst and I am horrible at it

'So … like, what’s your major?'

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Last year, I hated “sorority recruitment.” Truly, I can’t think of a situation more nerve-racking than walking into a house full of strangers, all of whom are there with the intent of judging and scoring you based on a five-minute conversation. But it wasn’t until going through the whole process again, this time on the opposite side, that I realized just how bad I was at it.

In retrospect, I think my biggest issue was that I saw recruitment as more of an interview than a way to get to know people. This likely made a lot of people uncomfortable, because — rather than trying to maintain a normal conversation — I would just quickly and concisely answer whatever they asked me, then stare at them, wide-eyed, waiting for the next question. Now that I’m thinking about it, this likely wouldn’t have been a successful interview tactic either.

I can also think of some glaring errors that I made when giving my answers that definitely didn’t do me any favors during the recruiting process. I’ll lay out a few of them below so that no one else has to self-sabotage as horrifically as I did:

  1. Do not talk about how cool your mom is during rush. This will not make people think your mom is cool. It will, however, make them think that you are weird.
  2. When asked the question, “What are you excited about for this semester?” absolutely do not respond with, “I dunno … Foxfield?” When I said this, I thought it would make people think I was fun and social, but — after having actually been to Foxfield — I now know this may have given the misleading impression that I’m a deranged alcoholic. 
  3. If someone asks you where you “summer” — yes, “summer” as a verb — kindly give them a reality check, or take the liberty to just straight-up lie and make up a fabulous life for yourself. I didn’t actually do either of these things, but sometimes I wish I had.

Not surprisingly, I got steamrolled by the recruitment process. On the night of Bid Day — I found myself on a UTS bus en route to the Corner, making friends with a group of girls who I assumed had also dropped — since they were screaming expletives about the recruitment process on public transportation.

Flashforward a year and here I am — I finagled my way into a sorority and just completed recruitment from the opposite side. I naively assumed that recruitment would be infinitely better this time around, but lo and behold —  I still despised it. It made me feel horrible to have to grade and rank people I barely knew, writing comments about how and why they failed to impress me within the five minutes they were given. How is anyone supposed to make themselves sound interesting when responding to questions like, “So… what’s your major?” Like, come on, I don’t even know what my major is yet.

And, once again, I failed to excel at the artificial social interaction that recruitment requires. While talking with a potential new member (or “PNM”), I was caught by one of our consultants from nationals saying two taboo words explicitly banned by those in charge of recruitment. And those two little words, which effectively got me pulled from the recruiting process for the entirety of the day, were — brace yourself — “frat party.”

I know, I know. How dare I?!

The insanity of the entire situation is especially magnified when we compare girls’ recruitment to guys’ recruitment. Why is it that we are banned from leaving our sorority houses for over 10 hours, forced into our heels and strictly censored in our conversations while the guys get to party on — and get taken on field trips to places like strip clubs and sporting events? It’s unfair!

And yet, despite how wholly unnatural the recruitment process is, it’s still easy to allow your self-esteem to get caught up in the whirlwind of rejection that characterizes the recruiting process. But, let’s do a quick reality check — the idea of getting to know someone within such a short frame of time, when discussion of certain topics harbor a strict “don’t ask, don’t tell” status, is absurd. 

So, if you’re bad at recruitment like me — that’s okay. You just need to realize that no one is going to be able to really get to know you from a five-minute conversation about your major and keep on laughing when you invariably create awkward situations for yourself.

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